This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.

Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

Scott Burns Production

Discussion in 'Andy Sneap' started by coneyis, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. coneyis

    coneyis I am the Warchild!

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    New York, USA
    For the hell of it I was recently going back to some of the older metal stuff I used to listen to, namely CD's recorded/produced by Scott Burns (Sepultura "Arise", Napalm Death "Harmony Corruption", Death "Leprosy", Obituary "Cause of Death", Devastation "Idolatry", to name a few). I remember how awesome I thought his productions sounded back then but today they feel very dated. I know it was a big leap for metal production at the time and he undoubtedly left his mark. His later productions sounded more individual to the band as opposed to the cookie cutter sound from one band to the next in the early 90's (I heard he got a lot of slack for that but that was what the bands asked for!).

    I'm curious to hear what you guys think of his style as a whole and if you think it's relevant at all today.
     
  2. GarethSE

    GarethSE New Metal Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Messages:
    7,604
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I find Leprosy utterly unlistenable.
    Scooped mids are bad enough, but the whole think is just murky. Ugh.
    I generally can't stand old school death metal production.
     
  3. slashvanyoung

    slashvanyoung Dopefish lives!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Messages:
    4,457
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Germany
    The only thing that's giving me the creeps is the old Obituary trademark guitar sound... I still dig pretty much everything else he ever worked on. I could listen to "Beneath The Remains" for hours, just for the drum sound...

    Edit: Some of the songs he helped creating would basically transcend even the shittiest production imaginable. And by modern standards, some of those are not that far away from that...
     
  4. coneyis

    coneyis I am the Warchild!

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    New York, USA
    I must say "Beneath the Remains" is in my top 10 fav of all time and has been since it was released!!!
     
  5. GarethSE

    GarethSE New Metal Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Messages:
    7,604
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    True.

    Tbh, personally, with bad production and great music all in one package, I think of the production being a concrete wall that I have to chisel my way through, Shawshank Redemption stylee.
    I eventually get through the barrier and begin to enjoy the music.

    Nile - Annihilation of the Wicked and Cynic - Focus anyone?
    ... But I still have to eq in some mids for AOTW D:
     
  6. slashvanyoung

    slashvanyoung Dopefish lives!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Messages:
    4,457
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Germany
    I'm a bit different on that one. Often I would rather risk an ear if the production strays from your typical modern metal production. I tend to get bored more easily from really polished sounds... but that's just me.

    I really appreciate the character of these genre milestones... even if that means that the "character" comes from being not so much hi-fi or state of the art.

    Neil Kernon is also one of those that people seem to have very mixed opinions about his work (like you mentioning "Annihilation Of The Wicked"). I personally love the fact that his productions differ so much from each other as far as sound and genre goes.
     
  7. Uladyne

    Uladyne Greg

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2006
    Messages:
    1,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    I think some of that dated-ness sort of adds something. Maybe it's nostalgia, I don't know. But I do feel that some records today are just getting too clean. Too sterile. Like listening to a computer make music. Oh wait a minute, I might not be too far off the mark there, heh. :loco: Remember when humans used to play drums and no attempts were made to mask that fact? heh Just kidding.

    Some of the grit and crappiness almost makes a record feel warm in some way. Not like in some sort of old-school vinyl era pleasant way, but in some sort of way that I can't quite put a finger on. Oh wait, I just figured it out: I think I'm getting old. Damnit.
     
  8. coneyis

    coneyis I am the Warchild!

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    New York, USA
    I agree, there are tons of albums that you can plainly hear the mistakes but we love em and embrace them regardless. I couldn't imagine those albums remixed with drums quantized and perfect production, it would ruin the special feel they capture.

    Unfortunately today we are competing with technology. The better technology gets for recording the higher the bar gets raised with cleaner, clearer, perfect production. I wouldn't be surprise if it all came full circle and we started hearing more of a human touch again (not that there aren't dozens of exceptions to that statement already!).
     
  9. slashvanyoung

    slashvanyoung Dopefish lives!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Messages:
    4,457
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Germany
    Yeah, but on the other hand, there are more and more wannabe-80s-thrash-revival bands coming up that kinda over do it and miss the point by explicitly wanting their products to sound like shit... That's not what it's about.
     
  10. nwright

    nwright Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Messages:
    3,096
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    New Castle, Indiana
    I think you could make this debate with any producer/engineer whose heyday was prior to the technology boom we see nowadays along with a limited budget and different tonal desires.

    IMO, much of what I hear in 80's and 90's metal productions are auditory "signs of the times" in regards to those 3 things.
     
  11. Uladyne

    Uladyne Greg

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2006
    Messages:
    1,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    Yea theres definitely a fine line. Actually I wouldn't even call it fine. Records from a by-gone era can sound lackluster by todays standards because of limitations of technology. Theres no excuse now. A crappy sounding record today isn't charming, it's crappy. At the same time though, there is such a thing as being too polished.

    To elaborate on coneyis' idea about everything coming full circle, I wonder if it will almost do kind of what guitar playing did in the last couple decades. In the 80's you had shredders who made it seem impossible to learn guitar (not that there werent a lot of mediocre players as well) and then in the 90's grunge brought in the "anyone can play guitar" era, which saw tons of kids (me) buying guitars and learning to play and write songs consisting of like 5 chords, which sort of evolved into nu-metal, which then brought a revival of shred guitar and technical music back to the forefront of rock oriented music.

    Maybe a similar thing is happening with drummers now? It's so common to "fix" a shitty drum performance that it seems like a lot of drummers kind of fake their way through their parts, because the demand isn't as high for them to nail everything perfectly for recording, let alone worry about dynamics and such. I think most young drummers worry about flash and speed first, and technique and dynamics as an afterthought. Maybe we'll start seeing a surge of drummers and bands who will outright refuse to have their drums resampled or quantized, because they spent years woodshedding their technique and getting it perfect from the onset. I heard that Mnemic ended up turning down a chance to have Andy Sneap mix their Passenger album, because they refuse to use any samples on their drums. A shame they couldn't end up with a better mix than they did.
     
  12. James Murphy

    James Murphy Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2002
    Messages:
    4,485
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    coneyis, a big part of the "cookie-cutter" aspect to SB's productions that you mentioned was down to limited time and budget, not so much any desire of the bands or Scott's to sound the same. basically you could go to morrisound and have scott produce your album and you knew you would get a good product for a set budget. labels liked this, but i don't think for a second Scott really did. I'm sure he would have liked to have had more options to have spent more time and gotten better and more individual results. i also think Scott's career was inhibited by his being tied down to working at Morrisound for every stage of production... a studio at which he only worked, he didn't own any portion of the business. Basically the studio's lock-out rate, and often backline rental charges, had to come out of finite budgets and i imagine Scott had to negotiate his fee out of whatever was left of the funds the labels were willing to advance the bands toward recording (or perhaps vice versa). I personally think he would have done better as a freelance producer, working at various studios as necessary.... say, moving to a small overdub room after drums were tracked for guitars/bass/vox, then back to the bigger studio to mix.... in order to stretch budgets a bit further. But that's neither here nor there at this point, just idle speculation.

    Scott produced the first 3 albums of my career, Death's "Spiritual Healing", Obituary's "Cause Of Death", and Cancer's "Death Shall Rise", and i was involved in several others, such as Gorgut's "Considered Dead", Malevolent Creation's "Retribution" and Solstice's S/T debut.... and i lived only about 10 minutes away and Scott sometimes called me to borrow gear in order to save some bands he produced the rental fees and "a la carte" fees that Morrisound charged for things like heads and cabs, etc. ... so i have some insight into the situation. i do not however claim to "know all" about the man or his career.
     
  13. GarethSE

    GarethSE New Metal Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Messages:
    7,604
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yeah but old albums doesn't necessarily mean shit sound.

    Led Zeppelin 1 is still a sonic feast. Seriously. Each time I listen to that I pretty much cum buckets over the production.
    It's not that Scott Burns' production (or the dude that did AOTW) is too lo-fi, it's that it's too scooped.
    I swear AOTW sounds like someone actually scooped out a shit load of mids out of the mixdowns.

    That's the only problem with production of that type. It just sounds hollow because there's nothing in the mid-range, that's where most of your audio lives, so why scoop it? I really don't get it.
    ._.

    God and don't get me started on 99% of the local bands..
    Dimed gain scooped mids Spider II's for pretty much every band around here.
    There's one band with Rockerverbs and one band with an Engl Fireball and 6505 being used by their guitarists, but that's pretty much it as far as decent sound goes. Haha.
     
  14. Uladyne

    Uladyne Greg

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2006
    Messages:
    1,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    :worship: :headbang:
     
  15. GarethSE

    GarethSE New Metal Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Messages:
    7,604
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    the epitomy of br00talz tonez
     
  16. coneyis

    coneyis I am the Warchild!

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    New York, USA
    James, I feel honored to read your response! And for the record, the guitarist in me has been totally inspired by your work over the years... that said (and enough ass kissing!), I agree that all the factors you mention stunted his growth. However, ask any metal head from that era and they all know who Scott Burns is. I meant in a very positive way that he left his mark on the metal scene.

    Since you were so much a part of all that, I'm curious to know about his drum recording/sample techniques. Can you share any thoughts on that? I always envisioned that Scott ran the signals through an Alesis DM.

    BTW, Disincarnate was pinnacle!!!
     
  17. James Murphy

    James Murphy Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2002
    Messages:
    4,485
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    thx for the kind words. no, i don't think the DM5 as out yet then.... not even sure about the D4.... don't recall seeing one around. i think kick was often a sample loaded into the ram of a TC2290 and it was played back via MIDI coming from Opcode Vision or some similar midi-only sequencing software, slaved to the 2" via SMPTE. can't really recall how the MIDI was generated.
     
  18. _Brutalism_

    _Brutalism_ Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Messages:
    581
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Scott Burns is an inspiration to me. From Sepultura, to Death, Cynic, Atheist, Exhorder (even though they apparently hated it), Obituary and so many other bands, the sound is so raw and powerful. In fact, most of my favourite albums have been produced by this man, namely Human and ITP, Beneath the Remains and Arise, Focus, Slaughter in the Vatican, Piece of Time and Unquestionable Presence and Cause of Death.

    I saw a video on youtube of him working with Sepultura back in the BTR days if I'm not mistaken. He seemed like a really nice guy. James, can you tell us something about the man? Did he have any special personality traits which might inspire us?
     
  19. James Murphy

    James Murphy Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2002
    Messages:
    4,485
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    i liked Scott alot. i considered him a good friend. after 3 albums with him i made a decision, largely influenced by the label, to not do my Disincarnate album with him. he took a great offense to that and called me to strongly express his displeasure with me about it over the phone. i tried to calm him down, but he was having none of it. we haven't spoken since. a few years later he left the business for a different career.... something involving computers.

    Still bums me out to this day that things went down that way and that he took it so personally. i still hold a great deal of respect for Scott, and have not one ounce of bad feeling toward him.
     
  20. dan weapon

    dan weapon Planet Smasher

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    891
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Aberdeen
    I really like a lot of the Scott Burns albums, song wise, but never been a particularly massive fan of the production. However it's never bothered me enough to not enjoy the albums, and certain albums such as the obituary ones and Arise have a real character about them that is possibly greatly down to the sound.

    Really wish the Exhorder stuff had a more modern Sneap (or even Pantera - there's some irony) sound. 'Slaughter...' and 'The Law' would definitely get a bit more time on my player if they didn't sound so rubbish.

    Come to think of it, I'd love to hear Cynic's 'Focus' with a modern sound...
     

Share This Page